Fairy Tale Challenge | Day One → Favorite Fairy Tale
The Snow Queen – Hans Christian Andersen
“She is flying there where the swarm is thickest. She is the largest of them all, and never remains on the earth, but flies up to the dark clouds. Often at midnight she flies through the streets of the town, and looks in at the windows, then the ice freezes on the panes into wonderful shapes, that look like flowers and castles.” [x]
I wrote about this tale in another post, but let’s just say that one of the main reasons why I love this story is because, in general, it holds up quite well, in comparison to most of its contemporary tales. Most of the fairy tales have a very heavy imprint of the time in which they were written or adapted, so we are clearly aware of how different times were in comparison to ours: damsels in distress, instant marriage, beauty and virtue above other values, anthropophagy, etc. Here we have a story in which a little girl makes a complicated journey to save the life of her best friend, sorting obstacles using her determination and help from others who, after listening to her story, resolve to assist her (or not). The Snow Queen is a tale that, in contrast to many others of its time, doesn’t necessarily shove moral values at your face, but provides more freedom to the reader and presents many possible themes: the power of friendship, not giving up, learning through the way, asking help when you need it, seeing things from other’s perspective, and I could go on because it’s in how you read it and interpret it where you get the message, if you want one.
In addition, The Snow Queen has some of the strongest female characters I’ve read in these kinds of stories and in this time period: from Gerda, the little girl who saves the boy and not the other way around, to the Princess, who is looking for a husband who can intellectually satisfy her (and of whom I’ll talk more about in the next question), to the little Robber Girl, who is feared by all despite her young age but who understands empathy when meeting Gerda and hearing her story. And that leads me to the actual Snow Queen, who doesn’t show up as much as other characters and which makes you consider: is she really the villain of this story or are the obstacles in Gerda’s way more important than the actual Queen? Is there really a villain in the terms of other stories’ villains or is it more about a quest and not giving up despite all?
To conclude (for now) let me point out that this is a story in which there isn’t an explicit romance between the main characters, which makes it all the more valuable. Many interpretations and adaptations have been made in which not only Gerda gets paired up with Kay (like the Hallmark one) but others in which she also has a relationship with the Robber Girl (Catherine Breillat ‘s The Sleeping Beauty) and others in which it remains uncertain (like Lev Atamanov’s 1957 animated version). But the actual story isn’t entirely explicit in whether there is romance or not and it is OK. I don’t think romance is necessary here, Gerda risked her life for Kay and that is more than enough. Friendship wasn’t explored that much in fairy tales, especially not when the friends were a girl and a boy, but here there’s no promise of marriage at the end of the road and it’s refreshing and interesting. All in all, The Snow Queen is a story that works today much easily than other stories of the time, that has interesting characters who aren’t necessarily completely good or completely bad, and that lets you gather from it whatever message you want, instead of giving you an explicit moral like Perrault’s or Grimm’s stories did. All in all, I consider this story a masterpiece of literature.
Ava Ire → Character Tropes
The Snow Queen by Freiheit
What a wonderful reimagination!
Please do not remove the artist’s credit. Thank you.
World’s largest pizza box serves up to 70 people
More like 1 people.
This is really inspiring actually
I came dangerously close to making that my senior quote
No but did they really cut slices with a pair of scissors??
You don’t cut slices with a pair of scissors!? D:
Sweet Pizza Jesus